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Herpes Telling

This is our herpes telling story from my partnerís perspective.

How did you meet your partner? We met in a crowded bar in Omaha, Nebraska. I was out with a few friends celebrating my 24th birthday and friends' 21st birthday. I had noticed her smiling at me from across the dance floor off and on throughout the night and I smiled back at her. This went on for a while until I finally worked up the courage to ask her to dance. We danced until the bar closed and the rest, as they say, is history.

How long have you been going out? We will be dating for 1 year on September 1st, but it feels as if we have known each other for much longer.

What attracted you to her? Well, I would be a liar if I didn't say she was gorgeous, but the first thing that attracted me to her was her smile. I would have never even attempted to ask her out let alone ask her to dance if I hadn't caught her smiling at me.

When did she tell you? We had been dating for about 3 months before she told me.

How did your partner tell you she had herpes? We had just finished watching a movie when all of a sudden she got really quiet. I was leaving town the next morning to go back to work (I travel 3 weeks out of the month for my job). I could tell something was bothering her but she wouldn't come out with it. After 15 minutes of coaxing she finally started telling me about it. The frustrating thing was she didn't come out and explain it being "Herpes" until the very end. She started talking about her being infected with a virus that hasn't been cured, is sexually transmitted and that she didn't want me to get it. She was crying off and on through her explanation saying that she was sure I wouldn't want to be her boyfriend anymore and that there was no way I would love her after knowing this. She still hadn't told me the virus was Herpes and I was scared that she was infected with HIV. I was relieved when she finally said she had Herpes.

Before, during or after intimacy? We had not been intimate yet and we waited another 3 months before having intercourse, after we each were tested for all the other STDs as well as HIV. We decided together that this was the intelligent and safe thing to do before jumping in the sack together.

What was your first reaction? After she had explained everything to me she gave me a few printouts about Herpes as well as an issue of the Helper to read through. I was a little scared at first but after finding out that it was Herpes and not HIV I was much more comfortable.

What were your major concerns? My major concerns were that we could have a normal life together, marriage, children etc. I was not very concerned with the chance of infection, I had decided that my love for her outweighed the side effects of getting Herpes.

Do you have any regrets about your first reaction? My only regret is that I had to leave town the very next morning and we didn't get a chance to talk sooner after she had told me. I realize that it had to be a very tough thing for her and I wish I had been there with her after we had talked about it to reassure her more.

Did education about herpes help you calm any fears you may have had? Yes, After reading through much of the documentation on the Internet and various other sources I have been able to educate myself further.

What was the greatest resource or support that you had? Her, and the various resources she has accumulated after being infected.

What would you recommend to someone who has just been told that his or her partner has Herpes? Education, Education, Education.

How concerned are you about transmission? Not very, I decided before we became intimate that she was worth the risk. I am deeply in love with her and I am not gonna let some microscopic bug get in-between the two of us.

What steps do you take to prevent transmission? She is on suppressive therapy (Valtrex) and we use a condom every time we have sex, although the condoms are more to prevent unplanned pregnancy than to prevent transmission of the virus.

Do you still tackle with the issue, or do you feel OK with it? I have no qualms whatsoever with it, I think she has the bigger problem with it than I do sometimes. She is very active on the Internet both message boards and newsgroups and there are a large number of infected people out there that believe that people with Herpes should not date those that aren't infected. Some of them are downright mean about the whole issue and it is very upsetting to her and me at times. This was a bigger issue when we first started dating but has not been much of a problem during the last few months. Overall I think the whole Herpes issue has been a benefit to our relationship, through her being infected we have been able to communicate about many subjects that most relationships don't even talk about. We were both tested for all STDs before having intercourse and we can talk about anything, there is no lack of communication between us.

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